Tell me more about the Association for Women in Communications.
The purpose of the organization in general is really to bring women together and give a forum to allow women to champion each other’s successes. It’s women supporting women.
Another big piece is education. We do a monthly luncheon and have speakers who focus on communications styles or trends. A lot of times it will also dabble in marketing and (public relations) and personal and professional development. On the national level, there are benefits such as free webinars you can attend each month. There also is a job board with unique opportunities to connect.
Who comprises your membership?
Our local chapter started in 1985. The amount of talent and leadership in the room – we have everybody from someone published in National Geographic to someone in the c-suite level at a big financial institution; a very diverse membership.
That is one interesting trend. When it started in 1909, it was by a group of journalists. Now, communication has become more critical in different fields. Of course, social media is a huge expansion of communication now.
Is membership limited to specific fields?
There are no specific fields, but communications has to be a critical component of what you do. We do have a core group of marketing and PR, but also someone who does video production, even people who do internal communications for their office.
Is the local chapter growing?
We are over 50 now. We have grown over 10 members in our last membership drive. To me, it shows we are still relevant as a group, and there is kind of a need for a group like this.
As president, what’s on your agenda?
We run June to June, so I’m about midterm at this point. It has been a great experience and I think it’s pushed me from a leadership position. My two main initiatives for this year were I wanted to incorporate support for the community, with volunteerism and more outreach. Secondarily, my biggest initiative was really to support the board members and make sure people were getting what they needed. This year, our board has started forming committees: membership, social and programs. Our membership chair had a growth goal of getting to 50 members, which we have. Her goal now is 60.
Another critical cornerstone, and this was before I was president but have carried on, is to be incredibly welcoming to people at our meetings. We meet the first Tuesday of the month at 425 Downtown.
Twitter has exploded on the political scene lately. Along with social media, what trends are you seeing in communications these days?
Digital communication as a whole is exploding. Businesses being present on social media, through email and website chat features are all becoming consumer expectation. With digital communication, consumers are expecting immediate response 24/7. Consumers want to have the feeling that their interacting with a person, even though it’s through a digital channel. We find that speaking more conversationally and even using emojis, generates a warmer response.
Jacqueline Post is vice president of marketing for BluCurrent Credit Union and president of the Association for Women in Communications, Springfield chapter. She can be reached at email@example.com.